More than 93% of people in the U.S. live in a county hit by a severe weather disaster in the last decade, according to the new Atlas of Disaster report from Rebuild by Design. Between 2011 and 2021, some counties have endured as many 12 federally-declared disasters. California, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Tennessee had the most disasters (at least 20 each) and five different states (Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Vermont) received the most federal aid per person.
“When disasters hit …. funding doesn’t get to the places of greatest need,” Robert Bullard, an environmental and climate justice professor at Texas Southern University, told the AP. “Disaster funding is oftentimes skewed toward communities that are more affluent and have the most resources.” Additionally, disaster recovery efforts often rely on vulnerable, often undocumented, migrant labor. Not every severe weather disaster covered in the report can be attributed to climate change, but climate change is increasing the frequency and/or the severity of many of the most deadly and costly disasters. (AP, New York Times $, Grist)